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Famous male comedians: Funny, or just problematic

Laughter is often referred to as the best medicine or cure for illness. However, recently, comedians have been causing an uprise in controversy regarding their jokes.  

Jo Koy, a famous comedian, recently hosted the 2024 Golden Globes where he made a disputed remark regarding the movie, “Barbie.” 

“’Oppenheimer’ is based on a 721-page, Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Manhattan Project. And ‘Barbie’ is based on a plastic doll with big boobies,” Koy said.  

The “Barbie” movie was a production made to portray women as powerful and more than the misogynistic image that is often promoted. Yet, Koy diminished the movie and what Barbie’s character represented and turned it into the sexist image that the movie aimed to tackle. 

“The key moment in Barbie is when she goes from perfect beauty to bad breath and cellulite and flat feet,” he continued.  

The comment itself gained a lot of criticism, being noted as distasteful and simply misogynistic. It was ironic considering the movie addressed the unrealistic beauty standards of women and the difficulties they endure because of the patriarchy. Koy’s jokes only further exemplified the issues behind sexism and unachievable expectations of women’s bodies.  

However, Koy isn’t the only male comedian fueling controversy. Matt Rife, who has recently gained popularity on TikTok and other social media platforms, made a joke involving domestic abuse.  

“Yeah, but I feel like if she could cook, she wouldn’t have that black eye,” Rife said on his Netflix special, “Matt Rife: Natural Selection.”  

The so-called joke was a hint towards domestic abuse, discussing a woman getting abused due to her not being able to cook. Rife’s audience has been mainly women, and rather than supporting them, he made an insensitive joke that is many women’s reality.  

To make matters worse, Rife posted a link to an “apology” on his Instagram story after receiving backlash for the joke. The link was to a website that sold helmets for individuals with special needs.  

Rife’s unwillingness to apologize and take accountability for his unpleasant remarks about women illustrates his lack of understanding regarding deep issues involving domestic violence. In addition, it portrays an image of ungratefulness towards his audience, which is again, largely women.  

Unfortunately, this cycle of problematic male comedians continues with Dave Chappelle. Chappelle recently released a stand up special on Netflix called “The Dreamer.” 

In the opening of his special, Chappelle made controversial remarks aimed at the transgender community.  

“And he was clearly Jim Carrey. I could look at him and I could see that he was Jim Carrey. Anyway, I say all that to say: That’s how trans[gender] people make me feel,” he said. 

Chappelle has been known to make offensive jokes towards the transgender community and hasn’t made any attempts to apologize or understand the issues with such jokes. Rather, he has continued to make harmful “jokes” about a community which he profits from by hurting them.  

This pattern of problematic male comedians has continued even in a generation that openly criticizes such offensive jokes. Those who criticize these comedians are often called sensitive, when in fact, they are really being empathetic and maintaining boundaries. 

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